For our first several days we've been exploring Braga much like many tourists do - wandering around and finding interesting places to eat or have a drink. We've found a few great places down by the New Gate (actually a very old gate).
But on Sunday, we had a real treat. João Saraiva, the computer science professor that is hosting my visit to the Universidade do Minho, invited us out to his parents' farm for Sunday lunch. In many ways it reminded me of trips out to my grandfather's farm - lots of relatives, lots of children, and lots of good food.
The farm sits on the hills overlooking Braga and now grows grapes for wine and kiwi fruit as its commercial products. But it is primarily a diversion for Joao's father and is populated by many free-roaming chickens, ducks, geese, 2 pigs, 1 donkey, 3 deer (which they call the "bambis"), 2 trout ponds, and a few exotic pheasants. There are also many fruit and nut trees scattered across the property.
The farm buildings are constructed of stone and have been there for a few hundred years, and some have been recently refurbished using these traditional materials. We had lunch is the grain-drying building which was refurbished for João's sister's wedding a few years ago.
For lunch we had very tasty grilled bacalhau (cod) topped with grilled onions and olive oil and potatoes and a nice Portuguese white wine. This was followed by a fruit course - the highlight of which was the figs (see photo above). They were very sweet and really big - just fantastic and grown on the farm. I've never had a fig this good. We also had some fresh passion fruit that João's sister had brought back from Maderia and walnuts from the farm.
We had a wonderful time and are excited that we may be invited back for the kiwi harvest and the grape harvest. The wine is made on sight with modern equipment, but the old stone basin for stomping grapes is still there. For this I'll be sure to bring the good camera - the iPhone photos are OK, but don't begin to convey what it is really like.